Jack Ross on League One promotion race: Sunderland have character in abundance to bounce back from Portsmouth defeat

Jack Ross said his side have the resilience to bounce back from their Checkatrade Trophy final defeat against Pompey and seal promotion.

Sunderland boss Jack Ross
Sunderland boss Jack Ross

The Black Cats suffered a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat at the hands of their League One rivals after the game finished 2-2 after normal time and extra-time.

And must turn their attentions immediately to the league with an away fixture at Accrington to be played on Wednesday.

At present, the fourth-placed Black Cats are in a strong position.

They currently sit six points behind second-placed Barnsley but have three games in hand on the Tykes.

Meanwhile, they only sit a point below the Blues with two fewer games played.

Their promotion destiny remains in their own hands – and Ross believes his side have the mental strength to quickly put their wembly defeat to bed.

'Right now it's sore, there's no disguising that, it's a sore changing room.

'It's painful and there’s no magic words to take away that pain.

'We came here to win a trophy and put a huge amount into doing so.

'But we've spoken a lot about the game on Wednesday and the game on Saturday against Burton and how important they are for us so that will be okay.

'We'll allow the pain to subside and get back to work Monday properly to prepare for Accrington.

'We're resilient enough and we've shown that.

'It's dead easy to sit here and say that but we've got the evidence to back that up.

'The character it takes to be involved in this club, to play for this club, yeah, you've got to have that.

'And then, it was shown again in the last 120 seconds of extra-time because dragging yourself off the floor when you've conceded so late is not easy physically or mentally  – and yet the players managed to do that again.

'If we don’t see this season out it will be nothing to do with character because that is there in abundance.’